What's a fair price... 1995 Lexus LS400

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I sold the Impala to a family friend this past weekend, so I casually started hunting for a new "backup" vehicle. Now that it's nice out I'll be driving the Volt again, however I like having a second vehicle around just in case, and something I can use for a winter beater when the time comes. I came across a 1995 Lexus LS400 locally, 223k miles on it. It's VERY clean for the miles and the year, it had to have been used by a salesman or territory manager of some kind. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd say the interior is an 8/10, the exterior is a 6.5-7/10, and the rust factor/under carriage is a 5/10. There's no major rot, but there is cancer and some holes underneath in non-critical areas. Quick list of issues I saw: Converted to electric fan, I didn't look too close but someone added wiring and a relay under the hood. P/S noisy as could be. It has a new pump and pressure hose on it Oil leaks galore, degrease and go from there. Valve cover gaskets, for sure A/C was not cold Heat blew cold at idle, nice and hot at 1500+ The ABS light is on, Trac Off light flashing, and I heard what I thought was a really cranky ABS pump at startup. The physical brakes felt fine on a short drive. The timing belt was done at 143k, so it's due. It looked like it had newer plug wires on it. Someone removed the rear mini-mufflers and put straight pipes in. Nicely done, but they need hangers welded up. Someone added a bunch of Megan Racing pieces to the rear end, all adjustable. I'm not sure how I feel about those, I don't care for adjustable aftermarket equipment unless it's warranted. He's asking $1,999, which is completely unreasonable given it's condition. He's got an odd sense that any old LS400 is worth big money, which this one certainly isn't. That being said, I have no issue with a little project, that's the whole point of a second car. I don't need it to be perfect, but it does have to be reliable. SO! That being said, what would you offer? I'm normally pretty good at deciding what to offer, but I'm stuck here between insulting the guy and losing my shirt. I know I'm never going to make money on it, and that's fine, but I don't want to lose any either. Would $1k even be an insult? The owner has 3 other vehicles: one is a CL600 twin-turbo V12 that he just had both coil packs and plugs done on and one is a new Cadillac XTS, so I don't think he's hurting for money. He seems to have an odd attachment to the Lex, though. Apparently this is the second time he's owned the same car. I'd at most be comfortable putting $1,200 towards it, assuming I'll have to put $3-400 in it plus my time. It'll never be a $2k car, ever, in my opinion. I'm going to sleep on it tonight and see how I feel tomorrow, part of me is hoping it sells so I don't buy another toy.
 
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I simply wouldn't buy it. The rot, hacked wiring, non-working a/c, etc. If I were really considering it, I wouldn't go higher than 500-800.
 
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Originally Posted by 02SE
I simply wouldn't buy it. The rot, hacked wiring, non-working a/c, etc. If I were really considering it, I wouldn't go higher than 500-800.
^^This
 

14Accent

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Originally Posted by JimPghPA
A car that old could be hard to find parts for, and when you find the they will be high priced because it is a luxury car.
It's a Toyota, parts are easy to find. I have no issues with doing repairs, I'm an ASE certified tech. It's just a tough number to come up with.
 
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Any 25 year old rust belt car with ~225k on it is a steaming pile. You might get a steaming pile that has been polished around the edges and allegedly maintained, but it is still a steaming pile at heart. This from a guy with multiple 20+ year old vehicles hovering around 300k.
 
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It's worth a little over scrap, 230k miles, lots o' rust, lots of hacked up stuff, broken A/C, leaking oil, somethings up with P/S, needs timing belt. Since it still runs I guess it's worth a little more than scrap but not much.
 
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How much could you be comfortable with spending on it (loosing) if something major like the engine or trany blew up a couple of months after you bough it and the price to repair it was way more than what anyone in their right mind would put into a car that old.
 
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14Accent

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Originally Posted by JimPghPA
How much could you be comfortable with spending on it (loosing) if something major like the engine or trany blew up a couple of months after you bough it and the price to repair it was way more that what anyone in their right mind would put into a car that old.
I doubt I would lose anything on it. If I got it for around $1k and put $2-300 in it, I could still break even. I'll probably keep it for a year or so, I'm sure it's at least got that in it.
 
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Originally Posted by 14Accent
I'd at most be comfortable putting $1,200 towards it, assuming I'll have to put $3-400 in it plus my time. It'll never be a $2k car, ever, in my opinion.
I think your valuation here is spot on.
 
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About 15 years ago one of my brothers bought an old high millage van that had no reverse for a dirt cheap price, (the reverse in the automatic trany was totally shot). He piled sporting goods in it and used it as a beater for two years, considered it a challenge to always park it so he could get it moving again without having an actual reverse. After two years it died and was not worth fixing. For a couple of hundred bucks he got his moneys worth out of it, and when it died it was no major loss. Don't put more out for an old high millage vehicle than you can consider loosing without any regret if it stops running. If I were going to buy that Lexus I would make a maximum serious offer of $300
 
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Bring with you an itemized price list of what needs to be replaced on the car. I will say though,this era of Lexus and Infinity blows away anything they make now.
 
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Originally Posted by 14Accent
Originally Posted by JimPghPA
A car that old could be hard to find parts for, and when you find the they will be high priced because it is a luxury car.
It's a Toyota, parts are easy to find. I have no issues with doing repairs, I'm an ASE certified tech. It's just a tough number to come up with.
This sounds like a basket case. There are cream-puff low-mileage, strictly maintained old Lexus LS's out there. In fact a neighbor has one. it's over 15 years old, 40k miles, and looks new. Everything works too. My neighbor knows I'm a former mechanic at a Toyota dealer and various independent shops. Since I have a lift, and my tools, he comes over and I help him change his oil every 6 months. It doesn't need to be changed that often, but he likes to pamper it. And he keeps an eye on our place when we're out of town, which is frequently. I have a feeling it might be coming to me in his will... I'd keep looking.
 
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Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
Any 200K mile car imo they should pay *you* to haul it away.
For an LS400; I thought you were a fan. LS400 and 430 are excellent cars, just not this one described above. See if you see something in this picture that you'll never see in any other luxury model [Linked Image]
 
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14Accent

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Fair enough. I shot the guy a message and was as nice as I could, offered $800 bucks. Message read, no response. I suppose he wasn't terribly happy with that offer. I'll give him a few days to think on it, in the mean time if you guys really want to make fun of me I shot a message to someone selling a 127k mile 1996 Olds Aurora. I have a true love for those cars, I had a Dark Cherry Metallic '96 in high school and was an absolute tank. They were even nicer than the Cadillac's of that era, to me. Buying one today is insane, but they're asking $750 and I love a challenge!
 
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Avoid this particular one and search for another. My grandparents have an early 2000's LS400. It should be around 120K now if memory serves, low miles for the age but certainly an older vehicle by all means. However, for the age it drives like new. I was blown away when I got behind the wheel. Solid as a tank and build quality is superb. Search for one that has been better cared for, they are out there.

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Originally Posted by simple_gifts
Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
Any 200K mile car imo they should pay *you* to haul it away.
For an LS400; I thought you were a fan. LS400 and 430 are excellent cars, just not this one described above. See if you see something in this picture that you'll never see in any other luxury model [Linked Image]
Almost 500K? That's AWESOME! drive I love all Lexus cars, especially the 90s era ones. They were the best of the bunch! I think the 90s era Lexus cars are one of the, if not the best luxury cars of their time. I think my prob with high mileage cars, is that ALOT of maintenance items will need to be replaced, and you never know when something uber expensive will render them inoperable without spending tons of bucks.
 
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